The following conditions are supposed to exist: The family consists of four or five people, and but one maid is kept. The ladies of the family do the work necessarily done daily in the front part of the house, put rooms to air, make beds, and dust the bedrooms. When the weekly cleaning is done, they dust the bedrooms, dust the bric-a-brac in the parlors, remove all such things, and return them to their places.
It is best to have the washing done on Monday. This is not always an easy matter. No article of soiled clothing should be thrown into the closet, even for a short time, but when discarded should be placed where it can be carried to the laundry and put in the hamper. By this means it becomes possible for the maid to rise early, sort the clothes, and begin the washing, and thus the clothes will have ample time for drying while the sun is bright and the air comparatively free from dust and smoke.
The results are most satisfactory when the clothes are taken from the line at the time that there is just moisture enough remaining in them to render the smoothing process perfect. It is not wise to do this when one woman is laundering the clothes, in addition to attending to kitchen and dining room work, because the two exercises performed on the same day tax the strength too severely. The laundry should be kept clean, and be put in order after the washing is finished. Monday evening, dampen the clothes, and fold them for ironing.
On Tuesday morning set the bread as soon as the morning work is done, have the irons hot, and do the ironing. If the bread is made by the quick process, and that is by far the best method, you have some nice loaves of bread within five hours after putting the yeast and flour together, and thus have bread baked and a portion of the ironing done in the forenoon. In the afternoon, the buttons may be sewed on, and the rents mended by the mistress while the maid finishes the ironing. It is always unwise to leave any rents until after the clothing is washed, if possible to avoid it. Endeavor to have the clothes perfectly dry by evening, that they may be put away in their places.
On Wednesday do the extra baking necessary for the family, and clean the kitchen and dining-room closets, and the kitchen and dining-room floors. The kitchen closets, and in fact all closets, should have floors of closely joined wood, and smooth, hard walls, either ceiled or plastered. The shelves should be smooth, and painted or oiled, that nothing spilled may find lodgment in any crack or crevice, or any substance be absorbed by them.
The floor is best left bare, as it thus harbors no insects and dirt. The store closet should have a small window, with a solid, close-fitting blind and a screen, that it may be opened to give light and means of ventilation when necessary, and be closed to darken the room when desired. This closet should have many tin pails with covers for storing moderate quantities of such things as insects and mice attack so constantly. Such receptacles in a poor quality of tin would last long in a dry place, and can be had for a moderate sum. If the shelves are not extremely dirty, warm water and a clean cloth and sapolio, vigorously applied, will clean them. Open the window and give light. Begin at the top, remove each article, fold the shelf paper up with its accumulated dust, and burn it. Scrub the shelves, wipe dry, and then rub with a fresh cloth, to remove all moisture possible. Scatter powdered borax on the shelf, and in the openings, if there be any, between the shelves and wall; put on clean papers, and replace the things. (The borax is to prevent the appearance of roaches on the shelves, if any are about.) Continue so to the bottom, and clean the closet floor thoroughly, also. Closets are extremely convenient, but should always be so that they can be lighted and aired, and they must have personal inspection at least once a week. Such a thorough cleaning as that just described would probably not be needed oftener than once a month; but there are the pantry shelves, the closet for cooking utensils, and the dining-room closet, and a closet somewhere on the first floor for overcoats, etc. This makes four closets, one to be thoroughly cleaned each week. The closet floor should be cleaned and the shelves dusted with a slightly dampened cloth every week.
Hardwood floors are best for kitchen and dining room. A sweeper is useful in removing crumbs from the floor before beginning to clean the table. A hair broom covered with a cloth of canton flannel, rough side out, is good for cleaning walls.
In sweeping a plain floor, matting, or carpet, go with the grain, and, when possible, sweep toward the light. A pointed brush should be at hand for the corners. Oiled floors should be washed clean with warm water, and wiped dry. A tile floor is treated in the same way. Linoleum and oilcloth usually need nothing more than warm water. Soapsuds spoils the appearance of oilcloth, and when something is needed in addition to the water, put a little sweet milk into the pail of water. This helps to retain the luster. To Clean the Dining Room.
Dust the curtains and remove. If on rods, they are easily lifted out. Remove all vases of cut flowers. Remove plants, and dust, and wash them, if necessary. Dust and remove any articles which may be on the sideboard. Dust the sideboard, and cover it. Dust the chandelier, and draw a bag over it and tie. Dust the chairs, and remove them from the room. Dust the pictures, and cover them with a piece of cotton cloth pinned over each. An old sheet or a piece of unbleached muslin makes good covers for articles of furniture too heavy to move from the room. Remove the matting, if there is one, and clean it. Clean the windows. A paint brush or a brush for the purpose will remove dust from the corners of the sash. Paint on the glass can be removed by rubbing with a little baking soda on a damp cloth. Wash the windows using simply warm water, if this will suffice. If much soiled, use a little baking soda in the water, as soap injures the finish on wood work. If they need nothing more than dusting, rub the lower parts with a dry cloth, and the higher portions with a broom prepared for dusting walls. Use a little ammonia in the water for washing window glass, because some soaps are hard to remove, and do not leave the glass clear. Do not wash windows when the sun shines hot on them, for they dry before one can polish them properly, and will look streaked and spotted. For wiping window glass use a soft cloth which will absorb the water readily, and leave no lint on the glass. A soft, unsized paper makes a very satisfactory material for polishing window glass.
If the floor is hardwood, clean as directed above. If polished, use a soft brush; if waxed, use a weighted brush. If there are brass doorknobs to polish, cut a piece of pasteboard to fit exactly about the part which lies on the surface of the door, that the polishing may be done without injuring the woodwork.
Just a few words about dust cloths. Cheese cloth is the best material for dusting. It is soft, takes up the dust well, and is not hard on the furniture. When using the dust cloth, fold the dust inside at each stroke, and when the cloth needs shaking, do not open a window and shake it, for in this way very often as much dust comes in as goes out. Better take the cloth outside, shut the door, and shake the cloth well to remove all dust. When through using it for the day, put it into a pail of clean water, rinse, and dry ready for the laundry, and take a clean one next dusting time.